Remember, Employees Are People Too

  |  May 10, 2012   |  Comments

When working to build brand loyalty don't forget your employees.

As I discussed in my "How to Build Community Loyalty: 3 Tactics" column, building community loyalty takes time, just like training for a marathon. Similarly, building brand loyalty with your community requires consistent authentic interactions between your employees and your customer base. And just like getting in shape, there are no shortcuts, but with a few expert tips you'll be winning the customer loyalty race in no time. Let's run through how you can build brand loyalty via a few routine exercises.

The first skill we'll review is an easy one, but many brands forget this foundational loyalty-building tactic: connect your customers with your employees to build brand loyalty. People are loyal to people, so lift the curtain on your company's greatest asset - your employees - and humanize them by leveraging your customer forums.

  • Employee introductions. You announce your new employees to your company - why not announce your new employees to your customers through your company blog or customer forum? Be sure to include a photo of your new hire, their role, and some fun facts about them so your fans can feel like they're one of their own. Not only will your employees feel closer to your brand by getting to know who works there, but they will also feel confident in your brand, knowing you're investing in talent.
  • Workspace photos. Your company has great culture and there are most likely quirky and endearing aspects of your office. Share this corporate personality with your customer base and let them feel like they're part of the team. For example, at my company we're lucky enough to work with talented publishers such as Bakerella. Since we knew she was in town we invited her in to judge an employee bake off, which resulted in fun photos of Bakerella and our employees with their fabulous Halloween baked treat in our office kitchen. Your customers will delight in these fun photos and will treat you back with loyalty.
  • Team spotlights. Your departments are doing great work to make the products your customers love even better. Feature your departments and their innovations through your customer newsletter or company blog. Better yet, let your employees write the article so they can really let their talents shine. Your customers will love hearing directly from them and will catch the contagious passion they possess.

Most of your employees joined your company for more than just a paycheck - they believe in your product, your culture, and the customers you serve. Similarly brand evangelists typically love more than just your product - it's also your ethics, your customer service, and your ability to connect with them. Help your customers become evangelists and build this loyalty by bringing them together with your employees through these three simple steps.

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Laney Whitcanack

Laney Whitcanack is Federated Media Publishing's chief community officer. Prior to joining FM, Laney co-founded BigTent in 2006 and focused on innovating online and offline ways to connect people with communities they care about. She spent the decade previous to BigTent coaching and training hundreds of community leaders, in the U.S. and Mexico, most recently as the director of community programs for the Coro Center for Civic Leadership.

A published author and speaker on entrepreneurship and community organizing, Laney received the Jefferson Award for Public Service in 2008. She is currently a board member of Zeum: San Francisco's Children's Museum and The Princess Project and is involved in even more community groups after the birth of her daughter, Campbell, last year. Laney has a B.A. from UCLA, and MBA from the Simmons School of Management, and an Ed.M from Harvard University.

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